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No Dieppe, No Normandy?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Mussolini, May 17, 2018.

  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I was listening to my 'Greatest Military Blunders' Audible book today, and the two episodes I listened to covered WW2. The first was the British Navy - both in the Pacific and up near Norway (Prince of Wales + Repulse, + abandoning a convoy that then lost 75% of its ships thinking the Tirpitz was coming). And then the second episode was Dieppe (up next is Market Garden!). It raised some interesting points, so I thought I would stir up some WW2 Focused discussion and post this thread (which technically spans both periods setup in this forum for Western Europe).

    The Purpose of the Dieppe Raid:

    "Too Big to be a Raid, yet too Small to be an Invasion...What were you trying to do?" ~ German Interrogator

    The object of the Deippe Raid seems to have been to capture Dieppe, hold it for some time, and then evacuate. This seems rather pointless to me - what would be the point in doing that?

    -If the 'Raid' had been successful, would not the Germans have then intensified and increased their building of the Atlantik Wall prior to Rommels arrival (upon arriving in Normandy, he was shocked at the state of the defenses and intensified the construction of the defenses ~1944) Roughly 2 more years of upscale building would have resulted in a (potentially) much harder nut to crack when D-Day June 6 1944 rolls around (if its even deemed feasible at that point). How would the Canadians in Dieppe be supplied, or was it supposed to be an 'overnight' trip sort of thing?

    -German Reaction to a Successful Raid - would they have destroyed Dieppe, trying to cut off the Canadians from the sea once Dieppe has fallen? The Luftwaffe was quite successful against the RAF during the Raid, so you would have defenders in a town with no real air cover.

    The Planning

    One of the beaches, that led up a heavily defended Ravine, was mentioned (I don't know which beach). Some one apparently commented that it would be truly hard to find a worse place to land on the Atlantic coast. So, did the planners for this invasion just role the dice and see what looked good on the map?

    The shingles on the beaches were atrocious for the tanks that were involved. There was no shore bombardment (of note), aerial bombardment, or paratrooper landing either. This, however, was not the first Amphibious Assault of the War for the Allies - there had already been several such landings in other theatres - so why was this so botched in all the stages?

    The AAR

    What was learned from Dieppe, other than a showcase of what not to do during an Amphibious Assault? I am perplexed by this as there were plenty of other Amphibious Assaults where lessons were learned and improved upon. By the time Overlord came around, had Dieppe had any impact on any of the plannings there? There were plenty of other landings prior to and after the one at Dieppe, so what exactly was garnered from it?

    No Dieppe, No Normandy?

    I don't think the two are related, given all the other landings, but without Dieppe, would Normandy have still been attempted, or perhaps even attempted earlier?
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think the best advice was not to land deep inside a harbour. However otherwise the strenght of the troops and reserves would show there was no intent for a second front as required By Stalin. Some say Luftwaffe alone would have stopped the invasion.
     
  3. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    I think that the purpose of the raid was more political than military, Stalin was screaming for a second front at the time.

    KTK
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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  5. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, no time for a more complete answer, but let me focus on this little gem. So by 19 August 1942 "there had already been several such [Allied Amphibious Assault] landings in other theatres." Really? Which? Name them please (not you BTW, but the author of this atrocious audio book).

    Guadalcanal - 8 August 1942. No shore bombardment or aerial bombardment of note or paratrooper landing (except by sea) and also, except for Tulagi, no real beach defense or defenders.

    Dakar? Pull the other leg please. Ditto for the Commando raids of 1940-1941. So which are the "several" other examples?

    BTW, the beach shingle was a notable problem, which led to quite a bit of effort solving the problem.
     
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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The tanks had a problem to get out of the beach due to the small Stones and also the big Stones the Germans had set to the area of the invasion possible. I have made a thread I recall about a book on these problems but cannot find them with cellular version..
     
  7. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    There was a shore bombardment at Guadalcanal, as well as naval air support. There was not much needed. Dieppe was an ill conceived clown show.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, which is why I said "of note". :cool:
     
  9. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    A half dozen heavy cruisers and a dozen or so 5 inch armed DD's is a far cry from the handful of 4 in armed DD's that were at Dieppe. The lack of air support was an absolute embarassment, The whole operation defies logic. Criminal in planning and execution.....
     
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  10. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Wisdom comes from experience. Experience comes from screwing up!
     
  11. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    Dieppe added nothing other than the British high command killing a lot of Canadians in a mind numbingly dumb plan. Other than the shale thing, nothing was gained, But there were a lot of medals given out to fellows like Lord Lovat. A bad OP on every level.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Do you know exactly how long that bombardment lasted?

    You would likely be surprised to learn that the heavy cruiser Astoria fired a grand total of 45 8-inch shells. The heavy cruiser Chicago fired none at all, since she was not assigned bombardment duty.

    As Rich said earlier this was not a bombardment worthy of note...Quite paltry compared to what came later.


    Lack of air support for Dieppe...Then I am truly curious as to what those 74 RAF squadrons were doing then, if not supporting Dieppe. 74 RAF squadrons as opposed to the 166 carrier aircraft at Guadalcanal. It would seem that Guadalcanal had far less air support than Dieppe.
     
  13. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    Try to follow along, there was next to no resistance at Guadalcanal. What exactly did the 74 RAF squadrons do? Other than lose more planes than the German did? I am not surprised at all about how many shells were fired. It is common knowledge. How many 8 inch shells were fired by the Royal Navy as the Canadian force was being wiped out...think.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    You might want to go back and pick up what the point of my remark was. The audio book - which is what started this whole thread - made an idiotic comment about "shore bombardment (of note), aerial bombardment, [and] paratrooper landing" being a salient point of the "several such landings in other theatres" that had already occurred before the Dieppe landing. I simply asked which those were. Guadalcanal was not one of the "several". Neither its shore or aerial bombardment were of note in facilitating the Marine landing (and at Gavutu the shore bombardment that did occur actually caused more problems for the Marines than the Japanese and ditto at Tanambogo).

    So it is unlikely that the USMC experience at Guadalcanal twelve days before Dieppe could have provided any lessons learned that should have been employed at Dieppe. So what is the author of the audio book prattling on about?

    All of which, BTW, has FA to do with whether or not Dieppe was an ill-conceived clown show.
     
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  15. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    I think the Allies, meaning the British and Americans, learned quite a bit from Dieppe. They saw how choosing a terrible landing zone made the operation more complicated than it needed to be, and likely increased casualties, especially among armor as it limited the Tanks movement allowing them to be picked off one by one. They also underestimated the Germans defensive capability and strength, making them more cautious in the future. I think they also knew that for any invasion to be successful, air superiority would need to be attained, and the location of the landings were just as vital as the invading force itself. Other amphibious invasions after Dieppe,(Operation Torch, Operation Husky, Operation Avalanche, and Operation Shingle) probably helped the Western Allies more than Dieppe I would imagine. But the lessons learned and experience gained from Dieppe probably motivated the Western Allies more than ever to make sure they got the real invasion right.
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member

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    "The ill-fated, costly and ultimately unsuccessful commando raid on Dieppe created the biggest single day air battle of any war in history. During the air combats that day the RAF lost 62 Spitfires, the most ever in a single day of the war."
    Spitfire AB910 and the Dieppe raid | RAF Memorial Flight Club


    "By the spring of 1942 the RAF was confident it was winning air superiority over large parts of the French coast. The problem was that the Luftwaffe usually avoided combat in these areas preferring to draw the Spitfires deeply inland and engage them when they were low on fuel. Analysis of this situation led the RAF to take a strong interest in the proposed raid on Dieppe because it would force the Luftwaffe into battle under conditions thought to be favorable to Fighter Command. When the original raid was cancelled the RAF became one of the main lobbyists for reviving it. Once the decision was made to launch Operation Jubilee on Aug. 19 all available squadrons were quickly concentrated in the south of England for what would become the largest single-day air battle of the war."
    The Air Over Dieppe: Army, Part 9 | Legion Magazine

    "The air umbrella was in place at first light and if success is to be measured by the achievement of air superiority over the beaches Fighter Command won a narrow victory. During the raid more than 2,500 sorties were flown and the Luftwaffe prevented from interfering in the landings or evacuation. More than 200 ships and landing craft operated throughout the day with only minor losses from air attack."
    The Air Over Dieppe: Army, Part 9 | Legion Magazine

    "Operation Jubilee was the first joint operation of consequence conducted by British and Commonwealth forces in the European theatre during the Second World War."
    -David Ian Hall

    For more information on the lessons learned in the Air over Dieppe.

    "What were they doing," indeed... think.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
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  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    No, my friend, you need to follow along and think...

    True, there was no resistance at Guadalcanal, but the other simultaneous invasions in the Tulagia area met heavy resistance, and all they had for shore bombardment was 5-inch guns, in the form of the AA cruiser San Juan & 2 destroyers. So, as we can see planning is not infallible.

    The RN had a healthy respect, bordering on fear, with regards to land-based air. This had been their experience with the Prince Of Wales & Repulse, and their operations in the Med. So, they were not about to risk ships larger than a destroyer for an inconsequential raid.

    As to what the RAF was doing...This has already been pointed out to you.
     
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  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The German strategy would also later have an effect. Rommel wanted to strike in the invasion areas as von Runstedt would let the enemy more inland and hit at the bigger force inland. Rommel did not want to give any foothold to the enemy.
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

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    One of the major lessons of Dieppe, was that tactical "Air Bombardment" was of limited effect; the oppression of enemy forces was limited by the duration of each run, measured only in seconds, coupled with the difficulty of identifying valid targets in a fluid situation, not made easier with the poor coordination between land-air forces. Instead, it was noted that smoke gave a far greater benefit than anticipated, making it difficult for the defender to coordinate their responses properly.
     
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  20. Willis Lee

    Willis Lee New Member

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    Pissing away an entire brigade is not an "inconsequential raid" . The entire operation was a complete joke. The RN failed, the RAF failed, and the British high command failed. The Canadians were very impressed. Lol! How many Americans were lost in the initial landings at Guadalcanal, and Tulagi? If The US Marines needed more support at Tulagi, there were multiple cruisers available. That is a silly analogy. The landings in the Guadalcanal area were an unqualified success, Dieppe was an abject failure.
     

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